Iron is a mineral nutrient that is essential for your body to function normally and to make haemoglobin.(1) We can absorb iron by eating foods that contain iron.
Haemoglobin, or Hb as it is also known, is a protein that can be found in red blood cells and its primary function is to transport oxygen to the tissues in your body.(1) All tissues require oxygen to survive .Iron gives haemoglobin and therefore blood cells their red pigment.
It is a common misconception that iron and haemoglobin is the same thing. This is incorrect. Iron is a component of haemoglobin.(1) As a result, it is possible to have a normal haemoglobin level but be lacking in iron. Iron is not just a component of haemoglobin, it is found in other parts of the body too.
A low iron level is called iron deficiency. This may cause tiredness. If your iron deficiency is severe, your haemoglobin level can drop. This is called iron deficiency anaemia.
Low iron levels and anaemia can be caused by:(2)
You should always see your doctor if you have any symptoms. Your doctor will assess your symptoms, investigate accordingly and decide if iron supplementation is the best treatment option for you. It is NOT recommended that you take over-the-counter iron supplementation without first consulting with your doctor. Finding out and treating the cause of anaemia is very important. This will ensure serious problems are ruled out and you receive the right treatment.
If your doctor decides iron supplementation is the best treatment option for you, please be aware of the following:(3)
KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN
> Iron tablets, like all medicines should be kept in a locked cupboard out of reach and sight of children.
> A small amount of iron can be poisonous, even fatal in infants and young children.
> Never give an adult dose to a child.
> If a child accidentally takes iron tablets call the Poisons Information Centre immediately on 131126.
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